When it comes to planning a travel wardrobe your shoes have the biggest impact on your trip. Uncomfortable shoes can doom a trip, especially one that relies on doing a lot of walking. Similarly, if you make the common mistake of packing too many shoes you will literally be weighed down by the excess and unnecessary weight.

A comfortable travel shoe that is also stylish takes a bit of hunting if you don’t already own a pair. I wish I could recommend a pair that would universally work for everyone but we all know everyone’s foot and foot needs differ. What I can do is recommend certain styles that pair easily with a travel wardrobe of basics. Within those styles you can find the pair that works best for you and your feet.

While I’ve had some success with regular shoes that aren’t “comfort” brands it really just takes some research and luck to find the pair that works best for you. Some comfort brands to look for when doing your search are: Dansko, Clarks, Naturalizer, Aerosoles, Mephisto, Birkenstock, Munro, Camper, Paul Green, Softwalk, Ecco, certain styles of Cole Haan, Born, J 41, Soffit, Softspots, Trotters, OTBT, Tsubo, Dr. Scholls’s, Kork Ease, Aquatalia, Taryn Rose, Miz Mooz, Naot, Farylrobin, Josef Seibel, Docs, Pikolinos, Rockport, Teva, Easy Spirit, Merrel, Chaco, Keen and Fly London.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a shoe:

  • Make sure there are no spots that rub uncomfortably.
  • Try on shoes at the end of the day so that you can account for the slight swelling that occurs naturally in your feet.
  • If you are buying shoes that will require socks make sure and try them on with your travel pair.

If you live near a DSW or a Nordstrom Rack that’s a good place to start. They carry lots of the “comfort brands” as well as regular brands and you can take your time trying everything on to see what works. If you want a more customized experience visit a comfort shoe store or Nordstrom, both have been helpful in my search in the past. Online stores like Zappos have a friendly return policy so you can order and try on different brands as well.

The next shoe issue when traveling is taking too many pairs. Yes, I most definitely have been guilty of this myself. The problem stems from not properly planning your travel wardrobe which leaves us with the temptation to throw in an extra pair or two or three “just in case”.

If you have confidence in your travel wardrobe and know that you can mix and match and be appropriate for all your travel activities then you can resist the temptation to pack anything unnecessary.

A good pair of walking or sightseeing shoes will serve as the backbone of your shoe wardrobe. You bring a secondary pair to mix up your looks and maybe to relieve any foot stress that your original walking shoes may be causing you. You could stop there but consider the third pair you bring your “just in case pair” so you can bring a dressier pair of shoes or your favorite sandals and so on. So there you have it you are bringing three pairs of shoes. That’s right THREE pairs! These three pairs should cover most travel activities.

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Are there exceptions? Of course, this is just a general guideline to strive for. For instance if your travel itinerary includes sightseeing mixed with adventure activities like hiking, etc. you will need to bring specialized footwear. If you are attending a wedding then obviously your comfortable walking shoes will be out of place and you will have to pack a dressy pair. For beach trips I also like to bring extra sandal and fit-flop options but luckily these take up minimal room and weight.

Use your judgement and if your goal is to pack light carefully consider your travel activities and corresponding footwear needs.

Do you need an extra pair of shoes for dining out? In my opinion, not particularly unless it is a five star affair. Short boots, tall boots, flats and sandals when combined with a smart travel wardrobe can take you from most day to evening activities.

What if? What if the queen invites me to dinner? What if I decide to splurge and actually get reservations to that five star restaurant? What if I decide to go to the Opera? If any of these above scenarios actually comes true well then that’s the time to hit the local shops and pick out that ball gown and shoes.

For you runners and wanna be runners out there (I fall into the latter category). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve packed my running shoes (as an extra fourth pair!)only not to even touch them during a trip. So be honest with yourself if you are debating bringing running shoes. Luckily, certain running shoes have become part of mainstream fashion so you could get away with bringing a pair AND incorporating them into your travel wardrobe.

Also keep in mind weather and cultural considerations. If you are going to a rainy destination consider how waterproof your shoes are or take steps to waterproof them. Bring thicker socks to wear with boots if you are traveling to cold weather spots. Keep in mind the culture of your travel destination. The shoes I would bring to France are entirely different than what I would take to Thailand.

Short Boots
Short boots or booties have become my new Fall and Spring travel wardrobe staple. They mix and match easily with skinny jeans or pants, dresses, skirts and even shorts (if you are daring). Adjust the thinness or thickness of the socks you wear with them depending on the weather. Most short boots can get you through warm spring weather and cooler pre-winter weather. They come in a variety of styles to suit your personal taste and budget. A dressier pair like the Black Sam Edelman Petty shown above can take you from day to night. Frye Phillip Bootie, Steve Madden Troopa. For travel outfit inspiration with short boots, check out my Pinterest Board.

Tall Boots
Tall boots are a no-brainer as far as winter and cold weather travel go. They keep your feet warm and look great with skinny jeans or pants or leggings. They can also be dressed up with skirts and dresses. Most are rugged enough to get you through rain and light snow situations. The only drawback to tall boots for travel is that they take up a lot of luggage room, so you might have to wear these during travel days. The Merrell Captiva Strap Boot has the added bonus of being waterproof. The Steve Madden Fairmont boot has the look of an expensive Frye boot but at a better price. Pinterest Board.

Flats
Flats are about as ubiquitous as it gets because they go with just about everything. They can pair with any cut of pant from bootcut to skinny, they are also a natural with dresses and skirts. Personally, I don’t find flats that comfortable and use them as a dressy third pair option. Cole Haan Manhattan Waterproof Ballet Flat. I’ve had luck with Merrell flats and I used a pair similar to the Merrell Avesso during travels through Thailand. The Naturalizer Maude flats have great reviews on Zappos. If you are ordering shoes online make sure and read the reviews first! Pinterest Board.

Sneakers
Sneakers used to be taboo in travel and a dead give away that you were a tourist. This is no longer the case, sneaker culture has taken over the world and you will no longer stand out if you were sneakers smartly. The key is that the rest of your outfit consist of classic or tailored pieces, wear sneakers as you would flats. Dark or neutral colored traditional gym sneakers are a good option like these Nike Free shoes in black and white (Nike Frees are also very lightweight!). It doesn’t get any more classic than old-school Chuck Taylors. I’m becoming a convert to the slip-on sneaker like the Steve Madden Eccentric and will be incorporating them into my travel wardrobe. I’ve got a Pinterest Board dedicated to travel outfits incorporating different styles of sneakers to give you inspiration.

Sandals
A pair of stylish sandals can take you from day to night and are easy to pair with jeans and dresses. Many comfort brands have stylish options like Dansko and Birkenstock. Birks have made their way into mainstream fashion so you can be comfortable and in style with them. I like the versatility of the Gizeh style of Birkenstock in a metallic finish. The Bodhi by Dolce Vita is also a cute and comfortable sandal option. Pinterest Board.

Comfort and / or Functional Travel Shoes
If you have foot issues or just don’t want to risk blisters or sore feet you may have to choose a shoe solely based on comfort. For many years all I wore to Europe were Dansko Professional Clogs. Not the prettiest shoe but I rarely got any blisters and the rocker bottom on the sole of the shoe made it easy and comfortable to walk for miles and miles without thinking about my feet. The key to pulling off a less than pretty shoe is making sure it blends in with your travel outfits – Dark shoes blend in with dark pants and don’t stand out.

Some travel destinations will also determine your footwear options. For example if you are traveling to Thailand in the rainy season a water shoe like the Keen Whisper might be the way to go. Similarly, if you are participating in any high adventure activities like sea kayaking, long day hikes or thru hikes etc. you want to make sure you pack whatever specialized footwear you need for those activities. Pinterest Board.

What are your go-to travel shoes?

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Holiday travel differs from vacation travel. Usually you’re going to visit friends or family and packing requirements change with this type of trip. As always check the temperature of your destination and as long as you have an idea of your trip activities packing doesn’t have to be difficult.

In my experience these trips are short 2-4 day trips. The most important thing to consider when packing is what activities you’ll be doing. Will you be a homebody visiting with family or will you be out and about visiting friends? Will you be doing shopping or sightseeing? I tried to come up with a general guideline for holiday packing to get you started on your packing list. Suit it to your needs and the climate of your destination.

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1. Outerwear
Most places are cold this time of year so a good coat will be a necessity.

2. One Sweater Dress
I love the variety of Sweater Dresses available from Old Navy right now. Sweater dresses are versatile enough to wear for a Holiday meal with family without feeling overdressed yet you could also wear it out for drinks and dinner. I tried to highlight dresses that would work for several body types. Some sweater dresses can be bulky so be mindful of how much room you have available in your suitcase. I don’t mind packing these for a shorter trip because overall you are bringing fewer clothes. Dress 1, Dress 2, Dress 3, Dress 4.

3. One Sweater
A sweater is a another necessary layer during colder weather. I chose a longer length sweater so that it could also be paired with leggings. Try and stay away from overly bulky knits and let your coat do most of the work. There’s a great variety of sweaters out there, I found this sweater on the H&M website for only $24.95. H&M now offers online shopping which is great news!

4. One Long Sleeve Base Layer
Layering is key during travel in the colder months. The long sleeve tee I’ve shown is also an H&M find and is long enough to be paired with leggings as well.

5. One Button Down Shirt
I hate to jump on the flannel trend but they are quite practical for staying warm. Plus I associate them with coziness and the holidays. Once again I go with an H&M find for it’s longer length and traditional red plaid pattern. These flannel shirts though can be found at just about any major retailer right now due to their popularity.

6. One Blouse
I have to include a blouse for giving you an extra casually dressy option when paired with jeans. A simple black blouse, jeans, and flats is a classic look.

7. Jeans
Simple skinny jeans are the workhorse of any travel wardrobe. If you are wearing tall boots then you’ll need to wear skinny jeans.

8. Leggings
I chose leggings for this capsule wardrobe to conserve space but you could also substitute this option with black ponte pants like these from the Gap or another pair of jeans.

9. Winter Accessories
Pack whatever winter accessories are necessary for the climate you’re visiting. I showed a chunky scarf, but if you need more winter warmth don’t forget a hat and gloves.

10. Weekender Bag
A small weekender bag should hold all your clothes for a small trip and make you look like a packing pro.

11. One pair of flats
This fun pair of flats should add a little bit of holiday sparkle to your travel outfits. However, if your travel plans include lots of walking you might want to substitute a more walking friendly shoe.

12. Booties
Booties can be comfortable and stylish. These booties can work with the sweater dress, jeans, or leggings. You can find these at a variety of price points depending on your budget.

13. Tall Boots
Tall Boots aren’t going away any time soon. They are comfortable and classic and can help you look pulled together.

14. Optional – Lounging Outfit
If part of your travel activities include staying warm indoors by curling up with your favorite book or if you just want to look cute for Christmas morning pictures you’ll want a cute lounging outfit. These sweater knit leggings and hoodie are from H&M but Target and Old Navy have similar outfits.

15. Optional – Slippers
If you’ve packed a lounging outfit you may as well pack some comfy slippers to go along with it.

Trav_Holiday_howtowearit

Happy Packing and Happy Holidays!

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Looking great while traveling doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ideally you can put together your travel wardrobe from items already in your closet. If you find yourself missing key travel wardrobe items you can always look for cheap alternatives. Of course buying clothing of the highest quality is preferable but sometimes our budgets just don’t allow that. With that in mind I was impressed with Target’s Fall offerings and could see myself easily incorporating some (or all) of the items into my travel wardrobe.

Some things to keep in mind when shopping:
* Always look for the best fit, this may mean going up or down in your usual size but a good fit will mask any quality issues.
* The fabrication of clothing bought at cheaper places might include more synthetic blends but this works in your favor because they will be less bulky than cotton.
* Darker colors always look more expensive and will help you pull off a chic look.

This Target travel capsule wardrobe follows my packing light guidelines and you’ll find my essential 11 items included (1 outerwear, 2 sweaters, 1 Blouse/Button down, 2 layering tanks, 2 tees/tops, 2 jeans/pants, and 1 dress).

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1. Outerwear
A trench is a no-brainer for travel. Target’s version of the trench will help complete your travel outfits without costing a bundle.

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Some readers have asked me to put together outfit options for summer like I did for Fall and Spring. I’m more than happy to oblige and I apologize for the delay, this summer has been a busy one. This will still come in handy for anyone lucky enough to be traveling to the southern hemisphere like South America or Australia.

I’m pulling the outfits from the 11 piece capsule summer wardrobe I’ve already put together. The pieces are: 1 light jacket, 1 light sweater or other coverup layer, 1 Blouse/Button Down, 2 sleeveless tops, 2 tees/tops, 2 bottoms, 1 day and 1 evening dress. For the purposes of this illustration I’ve also included outfits for the optional shorts in case you bring shorts instead of jeans.

As always you want your airplane outfit to be comfortable. Layers are still important in the summer because even though your destination may be hot the airplane can still get cold. I included jeans in my Summer packing list but if your destination is REALLY hot or humid don’t bring them, pack a skirt instead.


Of course you can stick to classic neutrals such as khaki, black, and gray in your color palette but I like a little more color in the summer. I added splashes of blue, coral, and army green to the neutral palette. A smart little day dress will get you through any day of sightseeing comfortably. Mix and match your other pieces for lots of other outfit options.

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With summer here that means road trips, weekend getaways, and if you’re lucky longer excursions. As I plan my own summer adventures I thought I’d put together a list of items to get you through your summer trips stylishly. Living in Texas the only temperature variations we experience during summer is hot and hotter. However, traveling anywhere else you can expect cooler temps in the mornings and evenings which means layering is your friend.

The 11 articles of clothing I recommend (1 light jacket, 1 light sweater or other coverup layer, 1 Blouse/Button Down, 2 sleeveless tops, 2 tees/tops, 2 bottoms, 1 day and 1 evening dress) should get you through a typical city getaway. If you are doing more of a beach getaway adjust the items to fit your activities. For example instead of bringing jeans and a skirt just stick to shorts and / or skirts. Check out my packing light guidelines for more tips.


In the summer I feel you can add a little more color to your travel wardrobe instead of just sticking to basic neutrals. Blue is the main color in this palette but amped up to a bright cobalt level. This pairs well with the subdued green of the army green denim jacket, the black skirt, and of course jeans. It even looks refreshing against the coral of the optional shorts. I kept the dresses black because black dresses prove themselves to be the most versatile and always look chic. I love chambray and the chambray button down makes for a great top layer during the summer. Don’t be afraid to do the double denim thing and pair it with jeans. Of course if you feel unsure matching up colors stick to basic neutrals.

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Here’s a few of the outfit options you can put together from just 11 pieces of clothing: 1 Outerwear, 2 Sweaters, 1 Blouse/Button down, 2 layering tanks, 2 tees/tops, 2 jeans/pants, and 1 dress. The visual list can be found here. This is by no means every possible combination, just some examples to illustrate that you can make a few items of clothing go a long way. If you’ve got room in your luggage for some of the optional items I listed then your travel wardrobe stretches even a bit further.

You want an airplane outfit to be comfortable but by wearing your bulkiest layers you can keep your suitcase light. The extra layers will also help you deal with the temperature changes during your travel day.


By sticking to a neutral color palette and packing basic items you can mix and match travel outfits easily. Here’s an example of just a few of the travel ensembles you can put together. Your shoe choice dresses your outfit up or down. I chose the Converse sneakers from the Packing Essentials list because flats do tend to bother my feet after a few hours of walking.
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